Our trip down to Nha Trang began with our third and final Vietnamese train journey. This was to be a long journey at 11 hours but as it was a daytime journey we opted for seats in “first class”. Luckily we got a table seat so we had room for our large bag, but we had to share our seats and the table with various cockroaches.
Our bag became a foot stall for the various passengers who sat opposite us too. The Vietnamese don’t have the same approach to personal space as we do. It takes some getting used to but it is quite sweet really. At one stage Claire had to compete for foot space on our bag with two teenage girls. One of them introduced herself to me by lobbing coke all over me.
The other passengers were again good entertainment. One chap, who bore a striking resemblance to the Cheu Yun Fat, ate absolutely everything offered to him. It was quite impressive. I made my first trip to the food carriage which turned out to be a bit of a gem. I got to watch the scenery out of a large window surrounded by many Vietnamese chaps eating all sorts of food and smoking despite the No Smoking signs. Looking back we’ve both really enjoyed our Vietnamese train journeys. They have been quite an adventure and although challenging at times, it’s been fun travelling with everyday Vietnamese people.
Day one in Nha Trang was a blank canvass, so after a quick breakfast and a bit of research we opted for a day at the surreal Vinpearl Land. A privately owned island which houses a 5* hotel, an amusement park, a water park, an indoor games building and a nice clean beach. It is reached by a 2 mile cable car journey from the mainland. We didn’t realise quite how high the cable car was until we were up there. After deliberating our chances of survival if the capsule plunged into the ocean (very low) we decided to sit back and enjoy the views.
We spent most of our time at Vinpearl Land in the water park trying to build up the courage to ride the various flumes and slides, we eventually rode most of them, including “Tsunami”…
and Space Hole which I renamed the Flume of Doom…
This one (it’s the multi coloured one above) started slowly with some gentle corkscrews before a sweeping bend that then plunged downwards very steeply (behind the tree) before firing us out into a large ball within which we spun round and round, moving ever closer to a hole which dropped us into a pool head first. Frightening and hilarious at the same time. Despite the screaming, Claire loved it!
Nha Trang is a world away from Hoi An. It is a large beach holiday location and is teeming with tourists and backpackers. Here you get hassled by restaurants rather than shoe shiners! But like Hoi An it is a friendly place and we felt relaxed here.
Day two was again unplanned and we ended up spending most of the day on the beach. The sea here is warm but the waves were much larger than at Hoi An. I went in a few times but although great fun it was exhausting trying not to get bowled over by the waves. I was still removing sand from my various bodily orifices hours later! In the evening we hit the bars and the happy hour cocktails. We ended up in a rooftop bar with live music and a good atmosphere. We hung out with an Aussie couple, Duane and Bea, who have moved out here to live. They were great fun and gave us some sound advice for our travels.
At one point two Russian girls sat down next to us. It had never occurred to us before, but when spoken in a Russian accent “water” and “vodka” sound rather similar. This led to a rather amusing episode which ended when the two Russians became enraged when the Vietnamese waitress brought them two bottles of water instead of vodka. They were so insulted that they stood up and left despite our attempts to diffuse the situation. It took us a while to explain what had happened to the confused waitress. She know understands that Russians will almost always order vodka though.
After 2 great days in Nha Trang we have now arrived in Ho Chi Minh City. So much has happened since we were last here. Tomorrow we travel to the Mekong Delta where we stay overnight near the Cambodian border, ready for our Christmas Eve river trip to Phnom Penh.